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What is the difference between a title and a deed?

by | Jun 25, 2022 | Real Estate Law

California homeowners who wish to sell their property may feel puzzled about all the details that go into buying and selling a home, such as the importance of a title and a deed. Some might believe these words are interchangeable; however, Quicken Loans notes that while homeowners need both documents to transfer ownership of any real estate, they are quite different.

Before homeowners attempt to complete the sale of a property, they may want to understand why titles and deeds are different and how each can impact a real estate transaction.

What is a deed?

A homeowner who holds the deed to property can use this document to prove that he or she is the undisputed owner of the physical house or building, as well as any surrounding land. Since a deed is a legal document, it is necessary for the owner to keep it in a safe and secure location for the future. The transfer of a property is often difficult when no deed exists.

What is a title?

A property title is an intangible component of a real estate sale, although buyers may request a title abstract to discover who owned a home or property before the individual who currently owns it. This document may also shed some light on whether the home or land ever had a lien attached, which may disrupt a sale. A title also gives the current owner the legal right to sell or transfer the home, commercial space or other lands.

Some California laws require sellers to disclose certain details regarding the property, including issues related to the deed or title. Individual sellers may want to refer to their local and state regulations.